Certain times of the year are always slow, it’s just the way things go. Add an economic crisis to the mix and things can get extra slow. Lucky for us as designers and creatives, we have the ability to target a much more globally audience, which means we don’t have to suffer quite as bad as some.
While this downtime might seem like the perfect time to beat the next level of Halo or Guitar Hero, I suggest you use your time a little more wisely. Many freelancers use this time to work on building up their passive income streams. If this sounds good to you, be sure to check out my article on Making Money When Things Get Slow.
Aside from building up your passive income streams, you can do any number of things to help inprove your business. Below is a list of several ideas to get you going.
10 Things to Do When Business Gets Slow
1. Track Your Expenses – Tough times call for tough measures. Spend some time looking over your accounting to see where your major expenses lie. See what expenses you can cut out temporarily and what ones you can cut out all together. While you work on weeding out your expenses, you could also start working on a budget for your business.
2. Improve Your Skills – I enjoy reading and looking at the latest tutorials for the photoshop tutorial websites, but it seems like I never have any time to do them. If this sounds like you, then use this slow time to actually do some. There is a plethora of learning resources on line, go use some! It’s never a bad idea to improve your skill set.
3. Learn Something New – While you are working on improving your old skills, why not work on learning something new? The more skills you have the more opportunities arise. If you don’t feel like learning something new, see what it takes to get certified in your niche and start planning for that.
4. Start Networking – When it comes to social networking there are two kinds of people; those who do it in their sleep and those who forget to do it until they go to sleep. If you are the latter, spend some of this down time building relationships with others in your community via social networking. You never know when those people you meet online will turn into a client or business partner.
5. Revamp Your Portfolio – It seems most designers are either always working on their portfolio, but never updating it. See if you can use this time to finally get that project done and up to date. For more information on this, check out; How to Build a Better Portfolio Website.
6. Build Passive Income – As I mentioned above, there are so many ways for creatives to build passive streams of incomes. So many so that it would be silly for you not to take advantage of them. Who knows, they could help you get through the slow times a little easier. Some things to think about include stock photography and vectors, WordPress themes, website templates, t-=shirt designs, and more.
7. Active Passive Income – While traditional passive income is great for obvious reasons, I only suggest looking for more active income. See if you can’t find part time work at a local school or college teaching design or giving workshops for some extra money.
8. Change Your Prices – Slow periods can be the perfect time to raise (or lower) your rates. Spend some time looking over your books to see how much money you need to be making and how much you want to be making. Check out this post as well; Setting Your Prices: 10 Questions to Ask Yourself
9. Try Bidding Sites – Job bidding sites like eLeance and Guru can offer you another way to look for work when things get slow. If you don’t like these sites because you never win a project, check out Freelance Switches post on How to Win Any Job on eLance, oDesk or Guru.com
10. Stay Motivated – We all have down time in our creative businesses, don’t let it get to you. Things will get better soon, so make the most of the time off.
What kind of advice do you have to offer about using your down time more effectivly? How do you make sure to stay afloat when business gets slow? Share your comments and thoughts below to help others in our industry.